Roast Turkey With Cider and Bacon Turkey Gravy

A gravy boat of steaming gravy

Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

  • Total: 3 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Servings: 16 servings

This recipe is inspired by Gordon Ramsay's lemon and garlic roast turkey with a gravy that is made with roasted bacon, onions, and lemons combined with turkey drippings and hard apple cider. In an unusual touch, Ramsay adds crushed walnuts to the gravy boat before pouring in the hot liquid. Although the nuts are optional, they do add a unique texture and consistency. This recipe will work with a 10-pound turkey—double the ingredients for a larger bird.

Ingredients

  • For the Turkey:
  • 1 (10-pound) turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions (peeled and halved)
  • 1 lemon (halved)
  • 1 head garlic (halved horizontally)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 8 strips bacon
  • For the Gravy:
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup hard apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken broth (homemade or packaged but not canned)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons softened butter mixed with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Optional: 1/4 cup walnuts (crushed)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this gravy dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Roast the Turkey

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 425 F.

  3. Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves, and bay leaves.

  4. Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil.

  5. Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices, and lay the bacon strips over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again.

  6. Lower the heat to 350 F and roast for about 2 1/2 hours (or 15 to 20 minutes per pound), basting occasionally.

  7. When done, remove from the oven and let it rest, loosely covered, on a cutting board that can collect the juices.

Prepare the Gravy

  1. While the roasted turkey is resting, drain the excess fat from the roasting pan and put the pan on the stove-top over medium heat.

  2. Remove the bacon from on top of the turkey and the onion and lemon from the cavity.

  3. Chop everything up coarsely, and transfer to the pan.

  4. Add 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more.

  5. Pull off the wings, turkey tail, and any trimmings you would normally throw away, and add these to the pan. Sauté the turkey bits until lightly browned.

  6. Pour in the hard apple cider, and bring to a boil. (You could substitute the hard cider with non-alcoholic apple cider.)

  7. As the cider begins to reduce, pour in the juices that have collected from the resting turkey. Bring to a boil, and let reduce by half, about 10 minutes.

  8. Crush the onions, tomatoes, bacon, and turkey pieces with a potato masher.

  9. Pour in the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and reduce by half again, another 10 minutes.

  10. Pour the gravy through a sieve, pushing down on the solids with a wooden spoon. Lower gravy to a simmer and add the remaining sprig of rosemary.

  11. If you would like a thicker gravy, combine the butter and flour into a paste, and whisk in bits of it at a time, until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency.

  12. If desired, sprinkle the crushed walnuts into a gravy boat. Pour in the hot gravy, and serve with the turkey.

Recipe Variation

The original Gordon Ramsay recipe calls for making an herb butter and placing it under and on the skin of the turkey. This adds flavor and assures a crispy exterior. To make compound butter, combine softened butter with a little olive oil and desired flavorings, such as garlic, herbs, and lemon zest, and spread under the breast skin and over the top and sides of the bird.

Tips

  • Although it may be tempting to rinse off the turkey before prep, it is safer to simply pat with paper towel as rinsing can spread any bacteria throughout the kitchen. Just be sure to wash your hands after handling raw poultry.
  • It is important that the turkey rests once it is out of the oven so the juices can redistribute. There is no need to cover with foil as the bird will remain hot for even up to an hour. Covering the turkey will cause it to continue to cook and can dry out the meat.